Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with hopes and dreams.” The hilltop has become that special home for many—from students starting their first semester, to faculty who have raised families here, to alumni who return yearly to see the countless developments, innovations and transformations at their alma mater. This fall, those transformations include two new residences, Hoby House and Sigety Alumni House, dedicated on October 21 by Board of Trustees Chair Maria Vinci Savettiere P’17 and Head of School Peter G. Curran.
“Hoby House and Sigety Alumni House have helped us move forward our Strategic Plan of offering high-quality housing to attract the most talented and student-centered educators to Blair,” Mrs. Savettiere said during her first dedication as Board Chair. “Also among our priorities is to foster a safe and welcoming local community beyond our campus by supporting improvements to Blairstown, and these two renovations certainly help to accomplish that goal.”
Hoby House was purchased by the School in January 2022 with a generous lead gift from Blair Trustee Hoby Van Deusen ’54 and his wife, Nancy, both former bankers with a shared interest in historical preservation. Located at 16 Main Street in Blairstown, it is the site of the former First National Bank of Blairstown, which opened in 1911. With an ornate marble facade and Vermont granite columns, the thoughtfully restored 1,700-square-foot faculty apartment features two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and the original Diebold bank vault, now converted into a modern home office.
Fellow alum and Chair of Blair’s Buildings and Grounds Committee Rob Sigety ’75 P’16 ’18 ’20 ’21 set his sights on another Blairstown property in need of improvement to benefit not only faculty, but also visitors to Blair as well. Purchased in May 2021, the historic Sigety Alumni House, formerly known as the Branigan House, sits perched above downtown Main Street on the edge of campus.
“For our second dedication this evening, I would like to express our gratitude to the Sigety family and especially to Rob Sigety,” Mr. Curran said, “ whose vision for this Alumni House and incredible generosity inspired this remarkable transformation of what was once a building in serious disrepair.”
The historic Italianate home has been fully renovated to include a two-bedroom faculty apartment on the first floor and five guest suites with private baths for the extended Blair family, including alumni, parents of current or former students, as well as prospective families. The 3,200-square foot guesthouse is a prominent feature of the Blairstown Historic District.
Blair is purposeful about attracting the best and brightest educators to teach and work with students. Additions like these, funded entirely through generous philanthropic gifts, aid that mission and help make Blair not only a distinguished school for our faculty, but a home.